Author: Phil Stubbs

14 Dec From 1:1 to paired and shared: Building time to think


Last month we launched Verso with seven amazing elementary schools in Horry School District, South Carolina. Through pre-workshop conversations with some of the teachers and school leaders, I was inspired to test a few ideas about using Verso in a group or paired scenario.

The idea is nothing new but I was keen to see how group exercises could be used as a prelude to individual work. As we head from state to state, working with schools and school districts, we see that the vast majority of provocations created by our community of teachers are geared towards students using a device of their own. I was surprised that shared and paired work, which we know to be highly effective in the classroom, seems notable by its absence. As a tool for formative assessment, Verso offers authentic visibility on every student’s thinking and as such, I believe teachers have been inclined to gravitate towards the use of one to one activities.

With each student’s original idea serving as the key to unlock multiple perspectives, Verso engages learners in deep, relational thinking, whilst immersing them in multiple layers of feedback and feed forward. Higher order thinking and visibility on learning that allows teachers to adapt what happens next is powerful, however, I have to consider whether we are always gaining insight into student’s at their best.


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09 Dec Making Math Social: How a non-mathematician became excited about Math

How Much Does A 100×100 In-N-Out Cheeseburger Cost?

An introduction to the mathematical and pedagogical genius of Robert Kaplinski,

100x100 in and out burger

I was introduced to math’ and pedagogy genius Robert Kaplinski’s work by the equally brilliant Crystal Kirsch at Tustin USD, CA in October last year. What first struck me about Robert’s site was that his beliefs were so perfectly aligned with the Verso message.

The group is smarter than the smartest person in the group. When professionals collaborate, the work they do together is better than the work they would have done on their own. Sharing lessons and experiences with others helps us all become stronger.

Robert Kaplinski


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06 Dec Back To School

New year

Depending on which hemisphere you find yourself in, you will either be at the start of a new school year or the beginning of the second semester.

Either way, these first few days  should be seen as an amazing opportunity to set out on a quest, in partnership with our students, to make learning wonder-full.


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22 Dec Deep Learning: What is Deeper Learning?

Deeper Learning: What is deeper learning?
As we are now working closely with Victorian schools involved with Michael Fullan’s New Pedagogies for Deep Learning Project we have been exploring a range of definitions of what it means to engage students in deep learning. A stand out article has been the following description from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation . The key learning dispositions outlined in this fantastic article are in direct alignment with the feedback we continue to receive from schools across the globe from teachers who are using Verso to transition students from surface to deep. These teachers have positioned Verso as the tool for supporting students in mastering core academic content whilst at the same time, supporting students in learning how to think critically, collaborate, communicate and co-construct meaning, building the capacity to give and receive feedback and developing growth mindsets and student agency.
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07 Dec Students as Question Askers


 Watching TV last night I caught a glimpse of the  Google App commercial : “Questions”. Whilst Google should not be the be all and end all of questioning, the commercial delivers a powerful message about the importance of questions, and for me, the importance of the questions  students bring to the classroom.


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27 Dec Teacher Professional Development: Getting started with activated professional learning

As educators, we constantly strive to motivate, inspire, enthuse and expose our students to big ideas. We look for opportunities to give our students a voice, choice and a degree of ownership of the learning process. We personalise, group and create opportunities for self paced and self directed learning and we work with technology to connect, extend, mobilise, broaden and deepen the experience of every learner. Yet when faced with the challenge of moving our colleagues forward we often resort to ultra traditional forms of professional learning where one size is expected to fit all and where learning is linear, top down, out of context and imposed. Not only is this ineffective but it fails to model the potential learning experiences that we want for our students. (more…)

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25 Dec Teacher Resources: Recommended Sources of High Quality Content

Teacher Resources: Recommended Sources of High Quality Content

“The model of those 30 children in neat rows facing a single teacher is (or ought to be) an anachronism. Why shouldn’t children be helped to learn French by French children in French schools or physics by a Nobel Prize winner?
    Lord Puttnam”

— David Puttnam

We need to ensure that we take care to bring the best possible resources, expertise and stimuli to our hyper-connected students. With this in mind and in response to requests for recommendations, we have sourced an initial list of what we believe to be exemplary content. As we looked through the following sites we could not help but get incredibly excited about the potential of each and every resource to form the basis of a challenging provocation capable of initiating high quality thinking, cultivating curiosity or  challenging every student to arrive in class equipped with big questions to be answered.

The list is by no means exhaustive and we have deliberately tried to dig beyond the usual tried and tested (and amazing!) suspects such as TedEd, Khan Academy or  MIT-K12, and we fully  intend to add to this list over the coming weeks and months.  Hopefully, this will be in response to your comments and contributions. To this end, we would encourage you to add to the list using the comment box at the end of the post.

We have loosely curated the sites under subject headings but please take time to explore as the vast majority of these exciting resources can be used across many subjects. As we have said many times before, it’s all about context and purpose.

All of the resources are free for use in school and the majority allow you to connect and subscribe. We hope that you enjoy using these sites as much as we do, and remember that your feedback and suggestions are what drive us. (more…)

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27 Dec Teacher Resources: Read before you create another piece of instructional content!

This short video is a “must watch” for anybody interested in developing instructional content for their students. When I watched, I was forced to rethink the investment I have at times made in creating content for student activities. Veritasium offers an amazing bank of resources for teachers for use in Verso or their LMS such as Life, Moodle or Edmodo. However, these videos serve as fantastic examples of how to deliver enhanced learning gains by adopting Veritasium’s research backed approach of starting with the misconceptions.


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